8 Nootropics That Will Increase Your Workouts
Nootropics, or brain supplements, are making waves in the fitness industry. This post tells you why you should add these “smart supplements” to your daily diet!
Lifting weights may seem like a physical exercise, but your mind has a significant influence on your muscles. In addition to your body supplements, you can take brain supplements to fuel your workout from top to bottom.
WHAT ARE NOOTROPICS?
If you have already had a cup of coffee or a Red Bull before a workout, you know the positive impact of caffeine on your concentration, motivation and exercise time. Caffeine can stimulate your brain, affecting things like concentration and fatigue.
Nootropics offer essential benefits for training, but many of them also benefit you outside the gym! These cognitive activators are known for their positive effects on mental performance, and some have even been suggested to support memory, information recall, energy and concentration.
BENEFITS OF BRAIN SUPPLEMENTS
Adding nootropics to your stack of supplements can offer the following advantages:
Nootropics help support healthy memory to facilitate your daily activities.
Most of us probably turn to caffeine – a popular nootropic drug – to improve concentration and attention. This class of supplement is most commonly used to improve alertness, and some evidence suggests that the ingestion of a cocktail of nootropic supplements may prevent the loss of reaction time usually associated with strenuous exercise.
Nootropics can help prevent fatigue by providing more efficient energy production. For example, you can work harder and better with creatine.
REDUCES OCCASIONAL STRESS
Intense exercise will certainly increase cortisol levels, which can affect your gains. However, nootropics, especially phosphatidylserine, can support a normal response to cortisol, thus preserving your hard-earned muscles. We generally observe the highest cortisol response with prolonged exercise. Therefore, if you have amplified your cardio, this can be a positive addition to your supplement stack.
SUPPLEMENTS FOR OPTIMAL BRAIN POWER
Nootropics are generally unique compounds and, although an ingredient alone can offer benefits that support the brain, some of them can be combined (or “stacked”) to offer even more significant effects! Here is an overview of the most potent ingredients and combinations.
Phosphatidylserine is an important chemical whose functions are widespread in the body. It is the key to maintaining cellular functions, especially in the brain. There is a decent amount of literature showing its positive effects among the elderly, with or without cognitive and memory disorders.
By taking phosphatidylserine, individuals could potentially achieve better results during physical exercises (by staying focused and alert) while improving their mood and mental capacity.
And for all those who struggle with calculation, it has been proven that phosphatidylserine supplementation increases cognitive function during mathematical problems (faster calculation time and increased number of correct answers). As mentioned above, phosphatidylserine can also reduce cortisol response after aerobic activity. Thus, not only will you be able to answer “What is the square root of 2 out of the negative power of 9 plus 3?” without the use of a calculator, you will be able to maintain your muscle mass!
2. L-THEANINE + CAFFEINE
L-theanine, a non-protein amino acid common in green tea leaves, can have a significant impact on reducing normal daily stress levels. Add caffeine to the mixture, and you will feel supported in terms of mood, stress perception and concentration.
Studies on the effects of L-theanine and caffeine have shown an increase in concentration, motivation and mood, an improvement in alpha wave levels (a sign of relaxation) and a reduction in heart rate and blood pressure. The addition of theanine (not to be confused with theafine) to the mix cancels out many side effects of excessive caffeine consumption while improving positive outcomes.
An all-time favourite supplement for athletes is creatine. It improves muscle mass and strength and can support healthy brain function.
Does that sound strange? It’s straightforward: your brain, like your muscles, uses ATP as energy. Therefore, increasing the availability of phosphocreatine in your brain helps in ATP synthesis and energy formation.
Studies have shown that creatine supplementation supports both short-term memory and reasoning skills, suggesting its use as both a brain and a performance stimulant.
4. HUPERZINE A
This popular herbal nootropic can help promote acetylcholine levels in the brain as it is an important neurotransmitter that supports memory and cognitive functions. Since you do not need a hefty dose of this ingredient to have beneficial effects, you will find that it is present in more mixtures before and after training.
Besides, Huperzine-A can give you better muscle contractions, so it is an excellent ingredient to look for in a pre-workout supplement.
Choline is present in many of the foods we eat, but generally not in a dose large enough to have a significant beneficial effect. Completing with choline can be a powerful nootropic, as it serves as a direct precursor to acetylcholine, capable of supporting memory.
Acetylcholine also contributes to your workouts by feeding the process by which your nervous system communicates with your skeletal muscles.
6. BACOPA MONNIERI
Similar to phosphatidylserine and huperzine A, Bacopa monnieri improves acetylcholine release, which can help improve your memory. This traditional Ayurvedic herb can also reduce stress on dopaminergic systems, helping to increase feelings of happiness and pleasure.
Bacopa monnieri supplementation can lead to short- and long-term memory management, improved reasoning test performance, increased attention and reduced normal stress.
Tip: You may not see any immediate effects as it takes a few months to kick-in, so be patient.
7. RHODIOLA ROSEA
Although its traditional use may have been used to prevent altitude sickness and to help cope with cold climates, Rhodiola Rosea is also used as mood support and anti-fatigue agent. Rhodiola helps to maintain serotonin levels, which can improve your mood and thinking.
This herbal supplement can help your body adapt to the stress of exercise and help you mentally and physically to achieve your goals.
8. ASIAN GINSENG
The most studied nootropic Asian ginseng is likely able to support memory, concentration and attention, as well as mood. It is even possible to improve performance (reaction time and endurance).
The fact that ginseng promotes healthy mood and concentration alone is a considerable advantage. Having the significant personal motivation to train is your key to success, but some days it’s not enough to get us leaving the comfort of our sofa to war against iron at the gym. Try taking ginseng if you lack motivation to drag yourself there.
Nootropic research is a rapidly expanding field and, as a result, there are few well-controlled clinical trials. While some of the scientific knowledge has been devoted to animal models, some important points remain to be learned: Supplementation is an opportunity to support higher-order thinking and cognition, concentration, mood and occasional stress relief.
For days when you feel more tired than usual or if you have trouble following your workouts, consider using the above “smart” supplements to give your body and mind an extra boost!